Imagine . . .

Imagine . . .

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger…
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one.

— John Lennon, “Imagine”

Though originally released over forty years ago, these lyrics continue to inspire, encourage and motivate people like us to hold fast to the dream of a peace-filled world — a world without the divisions created by national borders, narrow religious beliefs and the lure of materialism.

These dreams are more than the imaginings of the young and the idealistic: How can any of us ever lose hold of our dreams of world peace, of all the world’s people sharing resources without greed?

There is no simple solution to finding the peace that has eluded humankind generation after generation, but Gandhi gave us a clue when he said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” In Gandhi’s words, we must imagine and live these powerful dreams in our own lives, in our part of the world, and live them into existence for all parts of the world.

One individual who gave witness to “being the change” is Martin Luther King, Jr. His nonviolent resistance to oppression and segregation proclaimed the justice and mercy of God and helped many of us to imagine a new world. His famous “I Have a Dream” speech envisioned a world redeemed by the transforming power of God’s love and the promise of equality.

Margaret Mead’s famous quotation also reaffirms this idea: “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The message of Jesus started with a small group and spread by word of mouth and example — somewhat amazingly, especially if we compare it to the instantaneous communication of our day. How did it survive, thrive, and spread throughout the world? And then, how did it endure for centuries after the initial fervor and the death of the first disciples and followers?

We've heard all about the early days of the Christian communities in the scripture readings during the weeks of Easter, Pentecost and now into the “ordinary time” of summer. Perhaps those readings can help us catch the Spirit and keep our imaginings alive and, maybe, even turn our dreams into reality. For we know that everything is possible with God.

Mount Magazine, Summer 2013

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.